Lawyer and former priest-in-training Raymond Alikpala has written a book about growing up Catholic and in the closet in the Philippines.
Of God and Men subtitled A Life in the Closet was published earlier this year by Irish non-fiction publishers Maverick House.
Alikpala was in the closet until the age of 38. Now 46, he said his objective in writing the book is ‘to spread the good news that God loves bakla [gay in Filipino language], lesbians, bisexuals and transgenders and transsexuals as much as She loves alll Her other children’.
Alikpala believes ‘being gay is a special grace from God’ and ‘God is happier if you recognize the gift that is homosexuality and live your life accordingly’.
The book follows Alikpala’s life from Catholic school to studying for a postgraduate degree in law in Singapore to working for the UN High Commissioner for Refugees in Cambodia.
Since coming out, Alikpala has become an advocate for LGBT rights in the Philippines and joined the world’s only LGBT political party, Ladlad. He will be the third candidate representing Ladlad at the 2013 elections.
‘Ladlad is a critically important platform and its legislative strategy appeals directly to me as a lawyer,’ said Alikpala.